Thursday, March 27, 2014

Ruby's Birth Story

My wait for Ruby began around the tail end of the 38 week mark. I had Penny at exactly 39 weeks and was fairly positive that Ruby would come at the same time too.

I had been having contractions in the evenings for several weeks but nothing like the real thing. My midwife had started to check me at 37 weeks, when I started at about 2cm and stayed fairly constant over the next several weeks. Days passed, and I reached my "estimated due date" (March 4th). No baby yet. I began to despair.

That week I decided to get swept, which kick started some things into action but ultimately I wasn't going anywhere. We had several nights where I would have some consistent contractions but they'd peter off in several hours. We invited my parents up for the weekend so that they were already here as we planned for them to watch Penny when we checked into the birth center. That Saturday we went to our local pool (which has an awesome kids water park) and my 6 year old niece dragged me around the pool ("c'mon Auntie - let's go down the lazy river!!") and kept me very active. That night I started another round of good contractions - lasting a minute to a minute and a half and 4-7 minutes apart. We got excited, thinking that tonight may be the night! But alas, morning came and a very grumpy Bianca emerged from the bedroom for breakfast with the family. False labor - you are a cruel bitch.

So it was Sunday, March 9th. I was 40 weeks and 6 days. My parents were going to leave in the afternoon. I began to get anxious because I knew that as soon as they'd leave I'd go into labor and they'd have to turn right back around. Adam and my stepdad took a quick trip to work on a school project together and were gone for a couple hours, during that time my mom and I sat and chatted while I tried to keep my mind off my gloom. Around 1:00 a round of contractions started - this caught my attention. My contractions always started after dinner; very rarely did I ever feel anything before 5:00. I kept this to myself but eventually my mom noticed that my attention was elsewhere and she asked if I was having contractions. The guys came home around 2:30 with lunch (at my request: spicy Thai food) and at the table I continued to have contractions and I was getting on edge. We timed them - 1 minute long, 4 minutes apart. Adam decided to call the midwife to see what she thought. Darlene thought it still might be early but agreed to meet us at the birth center around 4:15 to see where I was at. So at 3:45 Adam and I kissed our sweet Penny goodbye and took off in hopes that I'd be bringing home a baby shortly.

My birthing room was prepared when we arrived and Adam turned on a good Pandora station that he knew I'd like. My midwife checked me out - 4cm, not fully effaced. But these contractions were real. She gave us three options - go home for a few hours, go for a walk, or break the waters. I definitely didn't want to go home because I was afraid that the contractions would stop and that it would mean bringing Penny back into the situation when she's completely content with the grandparents at the moment. So we opted for a walk.

We walked up and down the streets in a nicer part of downtown Everett. The rule was that I had to walk through my contractions; no matter how hard it was or how teeny tiny my steps were, I had to keep moving. It. was. hard. Many of these contractions were painful enough where I was openly weeping as we walked. I lamented over what a sight I must be - a clearly very pregnant woman, in her sweats, bawling her eyes out and clinging to her husband. I thanked my lucky stars that this wasn't a small town or one where we could possibly run into someone! The icing on the cake - we walked by the local events center and they were just finishing up the home and garden show, so a ton of strangers got to witness this as well!

After an hour we returned and I got checked again. Sorry honey, no progression and your baby is sunny-side up. We were presented with the 3 options again - home, walk or water. Home still wasn't an option, walk was no longer desirable because it was getting dark. My birthing team was completely confident with breaking my waters because I was past my due date and all other risks were low. I decided to go for it - it was time to have a baby.

It was within a minute of breaking my water that I went into transition. In an attempt to help turn baby, the team had me do lunges using the side of the birthing tub. Lunges through 5 contractions, on each side. Oy. I got through my round of 5 contractions on my left side before I crumbled into my husband's arms and we decided to go into the water. This was an immense relief, though the contractions were still coming very fast and very hard. I remembered with Penny's birth that I was able to 'check out' in between contractions and rest. There was no resting here. Even in between contractions I was uncomfortable and barely paying attention to what anyone said.

The urge to push came a lot sooner than I expected and I pushed for several rounds on my knees and hanging my upper body over the edge of the tub, using Adam as support (the same way as I had done with Penny). Eventually it was time to get baby out (her heat rate had dropped) and I switched to being in a sitting position and was told to push with all my might. I got to the point where I knew I had either approached the ring of fire or I was tearing - the birth team urged me on and with a couple pushes I had my sweet baby girl in my arms!



With tears in our eyes we spoke to Ruby for the first time, welcomed her into this new world and marveled over her perfect features. She weighed in at 7 lbs 15 oz, 20.5" at 7:16pm. That's a full pound heavier and almost 3 inches longer than her sister was, sheesh!

From the moment that my water was broken to babe in arms was about an hour and 3 minutes. The only family who knew I was at the birth center were my parents - the paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles were all surprised with a picture text of Ruby and I!
This labor goes to show just how different each birth and child are! I went into labor spontaneously with Penny, had an 8 hour and 40 minute labor and she came in the morning. Over the last couple weeks I've been astonished at how quickly Ruby has grown, how different our breastfeeding relationship is and how I've emotionally coped with having a newborn again.

16 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful story. (With beautiful pictures! You look amazing!) I'm hoping to have a VBAC in June and it's always uplifting to read happy, healthy birth stories like this one. Congrats on your new little one!

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    1. Keara, when I was preparing for my first birth in 2012 I read any and every birth story I could get my hand on! I really loved Ina May's books, they were frank and beautiful. Good luck!!

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  2. I loved reading this! So glad your baby came quickly even though she was late. My last guy was 8 days over, so I completely understand the waiting game. I'm 37 wks and 2 days with baby #3 now. Getting excited!

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    1. Jutta, wishing you the best for your upcoming birth! I hope you don't have to wait too long ;)

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  3. thank you for bringing another beautiful baby to our family

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  4. What a great birth story. If I ever have a third child, I will consider a water birth. My last hospital birth experience wasn't the best.

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    1. Amanda, to each her own, for sure, but I definitely recommend water births (or at the very least, labors). It was relaxing and comforting (as much as it could be). I couldn't imagine doing it any other way, but I know that some women absolutely hate the water as soon as they get in! It all comes down to how you feel at the moment, I guess!

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  5. Michelle FlahertyMarch 31, 2014 at 5:44 AM

    This is a great birth story. I can't wait to have our second baby in the tub in September. I'm nervous - not about pain or anything - just that everything goes well. We have a similar story for our firsts, my labour for my daughter was only 7-7.5hrs so hoping this one is fast as well. My daughter came at exactly 38weeks and was 7lb 3oz so we'll see how this one goes! Congratulations!!

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    1. Michelle, I wish you the best for September! I was anticipating a shorter labor (my midwife said about half the time), but this ended up being a very fast and intense delivery!

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  6. SO BEAUTIFUL! I had my first daughter at 38 weeks, and was SURE I was going to have my second daughter at 38 weeks as well. I was swept at 38 weeks, and nothing. Again at 39 weeks, still nothing. A few days later I started having small, but consistent and CONSTANT contractions. I was induced with my first, so I never felt what contractions feel like (I had an epidural shortly after the induction). BOY was it painful. I had gone to the hospital, but was only 2 cm!. They sent me home. The next 2 days, I still was having the same CONSTANT contractions, but MUCH closer together. I couldn't do anything! My mother called the DR for me, and in to the hospital I went that night, and had my daughter at 7:28 the following morning :) I'm not sure if it was the sweeping that caused the short constant contractions or if it was just time. But, they do come eventually! Usually when we least expect it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUBY!

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    1. How interesting! I definitely started feeling more contractions (especially at night) after I was swept, but it didn't cause immediate results like I expected.

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  7. So nice to finally read your birth story!!! Welcome to the world. little Ruby :)! That is one heck of a birth story, I can't imagine going into transition that fast after your waters were broken, considering that you had been sitting at 4 cm prior to that. You look gorgeous in your pictures, way more put together than I was ;)! So happy for your little family!!! Looking forward to seeing more pictures of Ruby! And some of Penny and Ruby together! Congrats Bianca and family on the addition of a beautiful baby girl!!!!

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    1. Thank you, Lalia! It was so different than what I expected it to be, but that's just how it goes, doesn't it? I definitely need to get a post together on more pictures of Ruby, but as you can imagine I've been more inclined to soak up the snuggles all for myself instead of worrying about the camera ;) It's so funny how differently we approach our first vs. subsequent children. I'm pretty sure that I was taking pictures of Penny every 15 minutes for her first 6 months and I probably have 2-3 pictures a day of Ruby. LOL!

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